Farren, Mick - Vampires Stole My Lunch Money

SKU 23-MM03
"One of the key albums made on the periphery of the late-1970s punk explosion, Deviants frontman Mick Farren's return to raw rock, following most of a decade spent in journalism, was less a timely resurrection than it was a vicious reminder that none of this new noise was actually very new. He'd been doing exactly the same stuff a decade before, and would still be doing it two decades hence. In the 1960s, after all, the Deviants depicted the underside of the peace and love rhetoric by asking just one simple question: what will happen if the revolution succeeds? In the 2000s, they pinpoint the formless agitation which has sucked the optimism out of everything. And in the 1970s, Farren solo snagged the tabloid nihilism which now dominated the punk scene, and played it up for all it was worth. Vampires was released hot on the heels of one of the most glorious singles of the era, the seething teen riot anthem "Let's Loot the Supermarket Again Like We Did Last Summer"; indeed, combine that one track with the best bits of Vampires and there's probably no better illustration of Farren's (continued) ability to press the pulse of the period. Possibly unintentionally, and now certainly unbelievably, Vampires marks the closest Farren has ever strayed towards becoming a true commercial proposition. He opens the album with a Frank Zappa cover, rather than a mutated approximation of what he thought the Mothers should sound like -- at the height of Britain's late 70s culture wars, "Trouble Coming Every Day" had been screaming out for reinvention, but Farren did more than that. Shortened and sharpened, stripped of weary cynicism and imbibed instead with apocalyptic foreboding, it became the statement of intent and detente which the punks had been trying to elucidate all along, and proved that all the latest generation were really doing was mainstreaming the imagery of the radicals of ten years before. In truth, the remainder of Vampires cannot live up to such an incendiary beginning; in its favor, it doesn't even try. With the exception of the remarkably prescient "Bela Lugosi," dedicated to the man who would, a year hence, be subpoenaed by Bauhaus to create the gothic movement, Vampires plays a hard-drinking, beautifully wasted game, living up to a dissolute image which may or may not have been Farren's personal modus operandi at the time, but certainly summed up his public persona. "Half Price Drinks," "I Want a Drink," "Drunk in the Morning" -- there's a definite conceptual angle here, and a rewarding game of spot the rock star, too, as Farren ropes in Chrissie Hynde, Wilco Johnson, Curved Air's Sonja Kristina, Pink Fairy, Larry Wallis, and sundry past and future Deviants to add to the dyspeptic ambience. It's probably the least essential album in Farren's canon, distilling his dark visions into bite sized morsels of fairly catchy poppy songs. But it is also the most enjoyable; a rolling, boiling, sassy swagger which makes only one persistent demand on the listeners. They have to buy the next round."-Dave Thompson/All Music Guide

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  • LabelMischief
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